By Bonnie Adams, Managing Editor
Westborough – The town of Westborough honored its veterans with solemn ceremonies and remembrances on Veterans Day, Nov. 11.
After town officials visited Minuteman Park and Pine Grove Cemetery, a short program was held at the war memorials located in front of the Forbes Municipal Building (FMB). Brent French, chair of Westborough’s Veterans’ Advisory Board, served as master of ceremonies.
The grand marshal for this year’s commemoration was Alexander Tournas, who served as a commander in the U.S. Navy from 1978-1985. After leaving active duty, he served in the military reserve until his retirement in 1994.
Addressing the audience at the FMB, Tournas noted that he was “humbled to be chosen…to represent the town’s veterans, present and past.”
“More or most of them are more deserving than I,” he said, adding that he had served in the Cold War. He offered his gratitude and respect to those veterans who had served in combat.
During the ceremony, Ian Johnson, chair of the Westborough Board of Selectmen, thanked Deborah Penta, CEO of Penta Communications, Inc., for her company’s donation of American flag banners for the downtown area.
“We are truly humbled to be recognized by the town of Westborough at this beautiful event,” Penta said in remarks. “I would like to express our deepest gratitude to the many Westborough men and women, sons and daughters, who served our great nation in every branch of the United States military. We thank you for your courage, your sacrifice, and for the enduring struggles many of you faced during your service, and upon entry back into the United States.”
She then encouraged community members to reach out to local veterans.
“When you see a veteran, I ask that you thank them for their service to our nation. Thank them for giving up so much for each and every one of us, and for fighting to keep America strong,” she said. “I urge you to not only speak in words of gratitude, but to also take action by volunteering your time to help veterans in need. Visit the hospitals, volunteer for a retreat, or in the numerous other ways we can all help.”
The memorial wreath was placed in front of the monuments by Selectman Denzil Drewry, a veteran who was honored with the Purple Heart for injuries received in combat and the Bronze Star for valor after serving in the Vietnam War, and Gold Star mother Rita Lee, whose son 2nd Lt. Vincent “Vin” B. Lee, U.S. Marine Corps, was killed at age 24 in 1969 during that war. Lt. Lee was posthumously awarded a Silver Star Medal, which is America’s third-highest combat military decoration.
A ceremony was also held in front of the war memorial at the downtown rotary where selectmen Leigh Emery and George Barrette placed the memorial wreath.
Also participating in the morning’s events were state representatives Hannah Kane, (R-Shrewsbury), Carolyn Dykema (D-Holliston) and Danielle Gregoire (D-Marlborough); Pastor John Taylor of the First United Methodist Church; Rev. Jeff Goodrich of the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church; Pastor Paul Sangree of the Congregational Church; Rev. Elizabeth Kubota from the First United Methodist Church; the VFW Post 9013 Honor Guard; the Westborough High School (WHS) band, including buglers John Pashapour and Eamonn Mazur, who played taps; and the WHS ensemble Harmony in Heels, who performed the national anthem.